Another Naval Brief- an update, only because it seems that at times, when a Brief gets published, something spectacular happens shortly afterwards.


US destroyers “USS Ross” (DDG 71) & “USS Porter”, (DDG 78)



were the US Navy warships that launched Tomahawk strikes at the Shayrat airbase in the Homs region of Syria. Yet, more than half did not reach their targets. In a nutshell, $88.5m worth of Raytheon missile hardware caused temporary mayhem & little damage but military & civilian fatalities. By the 8th April, the Syrian Airforce was able to carry flight operations again.

The 2 US warships are permanently based at Rota in Spain. I’d say that the Russians & Syrians would have been on high alert after the alleged CW attack in Idleb, especially so if the 2 warships had moved closer, past Crete or just off eastern Cyprus.

So Russia was ‘informed’ by the US, prior to the missile strike by being given a ‘deconfliction’ note. I can guess it was through low-key, routine communication channels, not at the highest level, thus giving little time for any meaningful political response, let alone a comprehensive military ones.  It is hardly surprising that the Russian government subsequently decided to halt the Syrian joint ‘air safety’ agreement. The US strike made a mockery of the agreement, nullified any legitimacy of the agreement.

The US radars or systems on the warships that fired the Tomahawks, weren’t electronically jammed since they are believed to be too far offshore. Tomahawks use a combination of TERCOM system and INS navigation systems, (Terrain contouring Matching and Inert Navigation System), which makes harder to jam in the conventional sense.

Yet, what is noteworthy is that both Russia and the US have tested each other’s capabilities in anger, since it would be reasonable to assume that coastal based Russian  & Syrian air defence did have a role to play in downing Tomahawks that night.

No doubt that there are a lot of assessments & debriefing sessions taking place. Undoubtedly, China will be taking note & watching carefully with wariness, the poor political & military outcome. perhaps it’s tolerance of US warships sailing in close proximity to its assets, will now be seen in a different light.

So, the shallow victory declared by the USA is somewhat diminished by the reckless attitude behind giving the go ahead to attack, as well as the poor result of the missiles themselves. Doesn’t bode well for future US Navy operations in hostile environments.

We are reliably told with seriousness by the US DOD that the U.S. Navy hit the airbase from where the alleged CW strike was supposedly launched & tracked by US/NATO long-range radar, without supposedly targeting any CW storage facility. That is erroneous to say the least, because at first glance, some containers seemed to have been obstentially for CW storage, yet other commentators state they are part of KMGU dispensers for sub-munitions, (BKFs).


So the USA managed to target amongst others, some piles of old military containers to make it seem it was a strike against a CW storage facility. The online debate in social media over their use as CW containers, is still raging though.

Back in 2014, The OPCW declared that 96% of the CW stockpile had been destroyed, but it still conducts a fact-finding mission in Syria and said recently : “The OPCW cannot and will not release information about an on-going investigation,” … no word on Shayrat though.


NATO warships

The Beirut port call of the Spanish Navy, “El camino español”, NATO WARSHIP A 05, was probably connected to UNFIL. It then went to Turkey. In Spanish:

As mentioned in previous Brief, but now with a twist in the tail. No mention in the blog article why the Spanish are in Turkey. It may be linked to the fact Spanish have deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey for a couple of years now, but I’m not sure if they are still there.


Russian warships 

Significantly, the  frigate “Admiral Grigorovich” has made a hasty return to the Mediterranean Squadron off Syria.

You have wonder why it returned back to the Black Sea at the end of March , after just 1 month deployment in the Med. It then subsequently participated in the joint Russian-Turkish naval exercises.

That was an oversight on the part of the Russian command not to have a versatile modern warship permanently on station off Syria.  The sea area that was previously home to the Russian aircraft carrier group now seems to be the location of the US Navy.

Additionally, the delivery of the sister ship “Admiral Essen”, (postponed due an accident), into the Black Sea Fleet, is now sorely overdue, although it is anticipated to be in Spring 2017.  In Russian

It was announced by the Russian MoD that the Russian Navy Baltic Fleet corvettes ” Boykiy” and “Sobrazitelny”, tugboat MB-123 and oiler “Kola” of the Baltic Fleet have left port on an Atlantic deployment. This part of routine deployment by the Russian Navy,  another long-term Atlantic mission that will take place, but with a possibility of a detour to the Eastern Med, not being counted out. In Russian .

The previous group of ships returned back from their Atlantic mission in October last year.


Russian budget 

“More Armata tanks, but less warships” is the title of Sputnik’s articles on Russia’s 2018-2025 state arms program. The Navy losses out, but this is hardly surprising, given never ending technical niggles, the delays in construction, problems with shipyard practices and issues with suitable gas turbines. Ambitious projects such as building a new aircraft carrier might be put off indefinitely.



China now definitely sees that there is a reckless & easily manipulated person supposedly in charge at the White House. The US visit of President Xi Jinping will not change that thinking. It is only expected that Russia and China will become closer economically & in defence than ever  before, for deterrence purposes.  As I write, this article appeared online,

Likewise The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US is “the most unpredictable state in the world,…” So expect more high level defence visits, joint exercises probably happening.



After all the endless rounds of aggressiveness from media, top politicians & chiefs, there are moments to recall real mundane events in exceptional times. In this case,  it is the naval salutes to the Pyotr Velikiy by the Danish warship HDMS Esbern Snare, off Syria in 2014.


This is part of Operation RECSYR (Removal of chemical weapons from Syria ) back in 2014. The naval protection element was composed of Danish, Norwegian, UK naval Task Group, that worked alongside a Russian and Chinese naval Task Group. They protected the Danish and Norwegian merchant vessels carrying the Syrian CW.

Centuries old naval courtesies. Feels like this took place a century ago. Kind wonder if a NATO ship would do this nowadays off Syria.



An additional information

A failure of the celebrated “the best in the world” Tomahawk missiles to hit their intended targets cannot be explained by their age since their date of production being 2014-1015, as it’s indicated on the recovered parts. [Images of the parts are posted by one of the trustworthy Russian military and arms watch sources.]


Some of  the poor US Navy performance to some degree could be attributed to a female touch.


Ms. Andria Slough  just recently got the US Navy and Pentagon involved in a very unpleasant situation in the Black Sea near Crimea, in details described by John Helmer:

“The US nuclear-armed missile destroyer, USS Porter, was steaming full-speed across the Black Sea in the direction of the Russian coastline, its Tomahawk firing radars activated, when a Russian airborne signals reconnaissance aircraft and three SU-24 fighter-bombers arrived in three waves.

The US European Command headquarters in Stuttgart announced that the incidents had occurred on Tuesday, February 14, calling the Russian flights “unsafe and unprofessional”, putting the vessel and the militaries of the US and Russia at risk of “accident or miscalculation.”

So, she is definitely making some waves. I am sure we will see her retiring shortly and running for the US Senate with credentials like these.


But, coming back to our missing missiles, most likely, as some Russian experts and my old pal, the Kulak, pointed out

“Only 23 out of 59 TLAMs hitting the target, even allowing for a few duds/engine failures on Tomahawks, sounds like the Russian ‘off switch’ since we have no confirm of S300/400/ Pantsir hit to kill or post defense intercepts it looks like Russian electronic jamming took down some of the missiles as after the alleged launch of a few test Tomahawks in August 2013…


Thank you for your time

P.S. A bit of humor for you, guys: “Two suicide bombings in Baghdad.12 people died in a blast, many wounded…”

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